The man suspected of abducting and killing a California family of four earlier this week has been booked in jail on murder and kidnapping charges.
Jesus Manuel Salgado, 48, was charged with four counts of murder and four counts of kidnapping and was booked into Merced County Jail Thursday, the sheriff’s office announced.
Salgado was transferred to the jail from a hospital, where he was recovering after he attempted to kill himself one day after the family’s murders.
He stands accused of murdering 8-month-old Aroohi Dheri; her mother, Jasleen Kaur, 27; father, Jasdeep Singh, 36; and uncle, Amandeep Singh, 39, in what local authorities called an act of “pure evil.”
Salgado was a former employee of the family’s trucking business and had a year-long feud with them, police said.
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said the brutal killing spree was one of the worst crimes he’s investigated in his 43 years in law enforcement.
“There’s some things you’ll take to the grave,” Warnke said. “This to me was pure evil.”
Investigators are still seeking a person of interest in the horrific slayings who is believed to have acted as Salgado’s accomplice.
The bodies of the four family members were discovered by a farm worker late Wednesday in an almond orchard in a remote area near the town of Dos Palos.
Authorities have not released a cause of death for any of the victims and Warnke has not stated the condition of the adult’s remains. However, he noted that the baby’s body had no visible trauma and an autopsy will be conducted to figure out how the child died.
Warnke said the family was likely killed within an hour of being kidnapped Monday morning when they were taken at gunpoint from their trucking business trailer.
Salgado was captured on surveillance video leading the Singh brothers, who had their hands zip-tied behind their backs, into the back of Amandeep Singh’s pickup truck and then drove off.
He returned several minutes later and led Jasleen Kaur — with her baby in her arms — from the trailer into the truck and again drove off before 9:30 a.m.
Hours later, the same truck was found on fire in a nearby town.
Salgado served eight years in prison for a 2015 armed robbery that in which he held another family — whose trucking company he also had worked for before being fired — at gunpoint and threatened to kill them.
With Post wires.